The Underdog, How I started Rocky Mountain Dog

I almost didn't adopt Butch. I had a choice between two Duck Tollers, Butch had a stomach hernia, a small hole in his stomach, the underdog.

Email about Butch Duck Toller

His brother had better quality, his overall structure was better... but I chose Butch. I chose the underdog, the last pick, the player nobody wanted. It was the best choice of my life. 

"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog that counts." - Mark Twain

Butch Duck Toller

This is the first picture of Butch, can you blame me? What a cutie! He has been a joy in my life, a spark plug and the inspiration for Rocky Mountain Dog!

Why Rocky Mountain... Dog? I was born in Calgary, Alberta at the doorsteps of the Rocky Mountains. I've been going to the mountains all my life learning how to ski at Sunshine and Lake Louise ski hills, hiking, biking in the summer and enjoying camping on the long weekends. 

I never get bored going to the mountains, I actually get more inspired every time. Everything slows down when I'm in the mountains, things come into focus and you live in the moment. 

It can be painful at the time hiking up a mountain or trying to shred one more run on the ski hill but you don't stop, you dig a little deeper to reach your goal because it feels so damn good. That's what we do.

Rob Skiing at Retallak

Skiing At Retallak

 Rob Taking Picture of Waterfalls

Takakkaw Falls

With Butch, I can now enjoy the mountains with my best buddy. It was so easy to go out to the mountains with Butch because of his energy... he's a duck toller! Simple walks around the block don't cut it with him so I found myself heading out to the mountains all the time with him. 

Duck toller and black lab playing in snow

Playing in the snow with Butch and Lola

But just owning a dog doesn't take you to the leap of starting an e-commerce store for most people. I have a background in digital marketing, websites, online marketing and IT. 

I explain what I do to people and a lot of the times, they say "oh you're the computer guy." I do know computers but not that well. What's happened over the last five years is the advance of online platforms like Shopify. I was amazed when I saw the power of this platform... and that's how it began.

So I thought why not start a Shopify store selling pet products to get a piece of the $60 billion/year slice of pie. Sounds easy.

I won't go into all the gory details at my first attempt... but it wasn't pretty. I made a lot of mistakes, a lot, and it was a flop.

After some thinking and listening to marketing podcasts, I realized I was missing the most important thing in business. A brand. Without a brand, you don't have anything. That's where it all starts and ends. It's the only thing you can defend yourself against all these juggernauts today like Amazon, Google and Facebook. 

So I decided to start with a brand. But that doesn't just magically fall from the sky. My original thought was to go with the name Butch Dog but I had to remove my own personal bias.

Rocky Mountain Dog. I can't really remember now how I came up with that name but I knew there was a connection to where I live, where I've been going to all my life and my dog, Butch. 

It seems pretty simple now... just call the company Rocky Mountain Dog. But like I said, nothing falls from the sky. 

If I've learned one thing is you have to work and I mean WORK. This isn't easy. Everyone has an idea and everyone can sound brilliant spewing off all these ideas but they don't mean anything without execution. 

You have to work every day and you have to be completely naked if you are truly going to be successful at launching a business these days because you have no idea if it's going to be a success or a complete failure.

Being a complete failure is the embarrassment you feel, your friends and family seeing it fail. That's being naked. 

You are naked because once you start there is no turning back. I started with social media posts to get the word as I worked on product development. You have to use all the might of social media, platforms and technology to get the word out. 

When you start it's you. You have to create everything. All the accounts, all the setup, all the organizing. You have to do the posts, you have to come up with something clever to say, you have to find content, you have to... there is no one else. 

That's just on the marketing side. What about the product? Yes, that's a whole other story.

So you are putting your neck on the line, but the greatest thing about all of this is if it's going to be a success... that's going to be a pretty damn good feeling. And that's why we do this shit.